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Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Published: 30th Jul 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
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Peter Vaughan follows his own advice and buys his favourite modern car – a Mustang 5.0 GT convertible – because big V8s like this are dying out…

“I badly want this car. It’s one of a kind, a dying breed. Get one before changes to its environment kill it off.” That’s how I concluded my test of the Mustang convertible that I tested in these very pages – a car that I called an automotive dinosaur – not much more than a year ago.

Now, I’m not easily seduced by modern motors. They may be comfortable, reliable, efficient and packed with tech to make them a doddle to live with. But most – especially the ones I can afford – get my pulse racing about as much as doing the washing up. The majority are worthy for sure, but dull.

Here, however, was a new car with real character. It played on five decades of history, but was not a retro pastiche like the Beetle. In fact, with all-independent suspension and right-hand drive for the very first time, you could argue that this latest ’Stang is the best of its breed. A breed with V8 engines and silver screen appearances (where the car really was the star) at its very core.

When I reluctantly gave the keys to the test car back to Ford, I told friends that I’d get one as soon as prices dropped to £20k. Then, a year later, I paid a fraction over £30k for the Ruby Red example you see here, just over two years old and with 15k miles on the clock at time of purchase.

That wasn’t down to impatience but a couple of health issues in the family which instilled a ‘why wait?’ mentality – plus a very understanding wife. So, my much-loved Peugeot 504 Cabriolet (featured in these pages) went and in its place is another four-seater, burgundy-coloured cabrio with twice the number of cylinders, nearly four times the horsepower – and 33 years newer! The ’Stang might not seem like an obvious replacement for what I still consider to be one of the best-looking convertibles ever made, but parts for the Pug were getting harder to find (in the UK) and my growing kids were getting harder to squeeze into the back seats.

Family-friendly cabrios are probably my favourite type of car and I’d long been considering something more recent than the 504. As fellow Classic Motoring scribe, Richard Dredge, will attest, I even narrowed it down to a BMW E46 330i or a late Saab 9-3 V6 at one point. And then decided that I didn’t really like either…

What I definitely didn’t want was a modern A5/3-Series/C-Class, all of which seemed rather characterless and too much like decapitated saloons. In over 20 years of 504 ownership, the 2015-on Mustang was the first soft-top to actually say ‘buy me’. Why? Well, that engine has to be the top reason. Naturally aspirated V8s only otherwise exist in Maserati, Lexus and Chevy cars now, and some of those are on borrowed time. The 5-litre lump in the big Ford is a gem, with more power than I’ll ever need and all the smoothness I could wish for. It is the heart and soul of the Mustang.

Yes, I could have saved a couple of grand, got cheaper road tax too, and bought an Ecoboost model, but I don’t think I’d have kept that long. The only decision for me was manual or automatic? The white press demo had the stick shift but I couldn’t help feeling that the auto’ might suit a big soft-top GT car better. In the end, I let colour, spec and price take precedence over gearbox and the first car I viewed happened to have the slush-box. A short test drive was enough to convince me that it was the right choice and I’ve not regretted it since.

I found my car on AutoTrader, where you’ll discover that coupés outnumber convertible Mustangs around three to one, and six months on, in mid-winter, there are still very few cars dipping below £30k. Mine came from Trust Ford in Edgware, who claims to be the largest blue oval retailer in Europe. It had been sold by them new, had a full service history with them, and had been part-ex’d against a new Mustang.

Most importantly, it was priced right and came in a subtle colour that meant Mrs Vaughan would approve (sort of). And I have to say that the dealer’s service has been exemplary – far superior to premium-brand franchises that I’ve dealt with.

And the car itself is even better than I hoped. The only snag so far is that I’m sure to need to increase the mileage limit on my insurance. I don’t use it for commuting or humdrum trips, so mpg has settled at around 25mpg. On a busy motorway run where 60mph cruising was enforced by cameras and congestion, it actually topped 30mpg! That leaves the only downside being that it felt a bit too broad on Devon lanes back in the summer.

I can live with that however because I love the rest of it. It is very comfortable on a long haul (hood up, or – much more often – down) and the Shaker Pro audio is excellent for those times when you can’t enjoy the audio from the 5-litres up front. The heated seats are so good that I’ve had the roof off in December and the cooled chairs were equally appealing in that long-ago heat wave. All the modern stuff – reversing camera, sat-nav, etc – is great, too, while the boot catered for a week away, four-up (try that in anything with a complicated folding hardtop!).

My friend Dredge might point to inferior dashboard plastics to my company Beemer, but I really don’t care. This car has put a smile on my face more often than anything else I’ve ever owned, not because it’s better than a classic Alfa or a Ferrari but because I can use it any time, to go anywhere. And wherever I go, folk admire it but don’t seem jealous or annoyed by it. It’s a Ford after all, just a Ford with American blood, an iconic back story and, of course, a great big lump of torque-tastic V8 engine. Yes, that 5.0-litre motor is king.

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